The annual Tasman Championship run over seven rounds during January and February finally resulted in a victory for the New Zealand driver Graham McRae in his McLaren-Chevrolet M10B after being run very close by the Australian Frank Matich who used a similar car but powered by an interesting Repco tuned Holden V8 engine.
Of the races, the opening four were held in New Zealand at Levin, Pukekohe, Wigram and Teretonga and the remaining three in Australia at Warwick Park, Sandown and Surfers Paradise. As last year the series was open to Formula 5000 cars as well as 2,500-c.c. cars with full racing engines.
McRae, who has earned a reputation in Europe in F5000 racing as a fast but erratic driver, was the victor of the opening round then followed up with a third place and another win. He was out of the results in the next two events but came back to win at Sandown when his arch rival Matich ran out of fuel on the last lap when in the lead. The powerful Holden-powered McLaren completed the series with a win but all McRae had to do was finish third.
Another local driver Niel Allen in his McLaren was a very strong runner and won two of the remaining rounds and finished third in the championship. The European based drivers did not have a very happy time although Frank Gardner won the Warwick Farm round with his Lola and Chris Amon finished second there in an STP backed Lotus 70.—A. R. M.
Championship Result: 1st: G. McRae (McLaren-Chevrolet V8)
2nd: F. Matich (McLaren-Holden V8)
3rd: N. Allen (McLaren-Chevrolet V8)